Reclaim Your Life & Strengthen Your Marriage – Ryan Couples Therapy

The Pain of Abandoning Ourselves in Marriage

Introduction to: How to Reclaim Your Life and Strengthen Your Marriage.

This is the introductory post to a series of 10 posts I will be publishing on the topic of Reclaiming Your Life and Strengthening Your Marriage.

Just about a year ago, I published a post, in which I talk about the pain of abandoning ourselves within the context of marriage. I shared a part of my own story; of how, in my first marriage, I abandoned myself in an effort to take care of my partner and my marriage.

Of course, this led to deep loneliness and unhappiness for me. And it was quite damaging to my marriage, bringing about a painful divorce.

It was because of this experience that I first understood the importance of learning how to be in an intimate relationship while also honoring and nurturing my most authentic self.

It is because of my own experience with this that I can relate when my clients describe to me the deep loneliness they feel in their marriage. They come to my office hoping to understand where this loneliness comes from and what they can do to remedy it.

I hear:

“How can I be lonely? I am married.”

“I am busy, surrounded by my children and my partner and friends and yet, I feel terribly lonely.”

“Even when I am with my partner, I feel lonely inside.”

This loneliness, in the context of marriage, often goes unrecognized and is a direct result of abandoning ourselves.

Our culture emphasizes that once we are married all loneliness and unhappiness disappears forever. The “happily ever after” myth at work.

But many people experience loneliness in their marriage for many reasons.

One of the main reasons is the experience of disconnecting from one’s authentic self as a way to preserve the marriage, avoid conflict, and please our partner.

This disconnection leads to deep loneliness.

Think about it. Once we start the disconnection via ignoring, numbing, denying, or dismissing our own true voice that expresses our heart and soul, we abandon ourselves.

In my original post I talk about how this kind of abandonment of self is an event that leads to loneliness and grief.

And it is this kind of self-abandonment that brings great pain to many of my clients. Often it’s the thing that motivates them to reconnect to themselves while creating a new and vibrant intimacy in their marriage.

Ineffective Strategies that Backfire

In my first marriage, I abandoned myself to please another. I thought it was the way to create a happy marriage and life. It was a strategy that backfired.

Instead of providing a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, abandoning ourselves results in silencing and burying precious parts of ourselves. And this is never a good thing, for anybody.

Among all of the other emotions abandoning ourselves brings, the feelings of grief and loss and loneliness are some of the most powerful emotions we experience when we allow this to happen.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you may be ready to explore your own loneliness much more deeply.

I invite you to stay tuned for a series of 10 separate posts I will be publishing on this topic of abandoning ourselves.

The series will focus on 10 tangible and practical things you can do to reclaim your authentic self and to begin to heal from the loneliness and grief. In doing this, you will be Reclaiming Your Life and Strengthening Your Marriage.

I hope that you will take steps today to reconnect to your heart, soul, and authentic self.

Peace in the journey,
Jane

Practice #1 in Series 

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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couple and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience and a speciality in helping couples navigate the challenges of intimate relationships. Jane also has a sub-specialty of helping couples navigate the relational and sexual effects of breast cancer.